This article exists as part of the online archive for HuffPost Canada, which closed in 2021.

Identity Is Complex For Mixed Canadians

'"Which side are you, really?"

Most children of immigrants are regularly asked "Where are you from?" but Canadians of mixed heritage are also asked "Which side are you, really?"

Both questions cause a stir of emotions.

Many second-gen Canadians — individuals born to at least one immigrant parent — who are mixed particularly find that latter question the toughest to answer.

We know we look different — sometimes, not even like our parents. Some of us don't know about our parents' cultures or speak the languages, yet, there's often a desire for others to categorize us as belonging to one culture or the other.

Why isn't it enough to say we're Canadian? We were born and raised in Canada, we grew up eating "Canadian food", watching Canadian shows, and learning Canadian history. But because there is a struggle to define what it means to be Canadian, it can get more complex with other identities in the mix.

As part of the Huffington Post Canada's Born And Raised series, some of our editors of mixed backgrounds revealed how they respond to questions about their identities.

Read their personal stories about growing up in a mixed Canadian home below:

"As I've gotten older I've developed a firmer definition of my self-identity. Though it's not exactly rock solid and I think I will always be a bit conflicted about how to scale the different races that make up me and my family, I know what defines me."

"I don't believe the places where my parents were born define me. And I don't think they define them either. They're just labels, words we use to help us form connections, but also words that separate us."

"My mom and grandma, as Indian as they were, never really raised us with what I could obviously identify as Indian culture."

"The question I've been asked consistently throughout my life is, "which side do you identify more with?" I hate this question. You are forcing me to choose between my Italian culture and my Filipino culture. It feels like you're asking me to decide between pasta and puncit. Between gelato and halo-halo. Between my mom and my dad."

Born And Raised is an ongoing series by The Huffington Post Canada that shares the experiences of second-generation Canadians. Part reflection, part storytelling, this series on the children of immigrants explores what it means to be born and raised in Canada. We want to hear your stories — join the conversation on Twitter at #BornandRaised or send us an email at bornandraised@huffingtonpost.com.

Also on HuffPost

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